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128 PROCEEDINGS OF THE ACADEMY OF
The President, De. Ruschenbeegee, in the Chair.
Thirty-three members present.
The report of the Microscopical and Biological Section for Sep-
tember, October and November was read, and referred to the Pub-
The publication of pages 10^ to 124 inclusive, of the Proceedings
for 1870 was announced.
The following gentlemen were elected members :
E. Wildman, M. D., David L. Collier, William H. Dougherty,
W.H. Wahl, M. D., Chas. Schaffner, M. D., J. EwingMears, M.D.
On favorable report of the Committees the following papers were
ordered to be printed.
BY THOMAS MEEHAN.
A few years ago, Mr. Isaac Burk, of the Academy, called my attention to a
form of Rubus villosus, L., in which the terminal leaflet was very large, cor-
date, and on very long petioles. It is a very striking variety, the leaflets
appearing at first glance like large linden leaves. He found them in Dela-
ware County. I have since gathered the same form near the intersection in
Chester County, near Port Clinton on the Reading Railroad, and along the
west bank of the Susquehanna, between Harrisburg and the mouth of the
The general forms of Rubus villosus are found uniformly in all parts of the
State, and, of course, without any break in their appearance between the
localities named above. The plant so easily maintains its existence by pieces
of roots, and grows as well in sunshine as in shade, in dry and poor as well
as in rich and damp places, that it is not easily eradicated when once it obtains
possession of the soil. On the idea that varieties originated from one common
centre, it is not easy to account for the existence of the same forms so many
miles apart, as we find in the above, except by the accidental carrying of seeds.
But I have reason to believe that seeds of Rubus rarely germinate in a wild
state. In experiments which I have made in raising the seed artificially, none
of the seedlings come exactly like the parent. There is a certain general
resemblance, but some distinction, more or less, can be traced in each indi-
vidual But, in native places, one exact form will be found to occupy exten-
sive tracts. Sometimes several forms will be together, but only a very few.
If the seeds made plants readily, there would be innumerable forms, instead
of the very few we see. I found, in my experiments, that it took a long time
for a blackberry seed to germinate : sometimes a whole year. Such seedlings
have a poor chance to vegetate in a state of nature. Other more rapidly-
growing vegetation would crowd it out. The only distributing agency I can
think of is that of birds. But I find no birds eat blackberry seeds ; and, if
they did, when we consider that of the millions of seeds which fall about the
place of their origin, few, if any grow ; the chance of those growing which
birds may carry, even if there be some to eat them, which I have failed to
find, is extremely small. Hence, we find great difficulty in believing that
identical forms of Rubus, widely separated, can have originated from a com-
Something like this exists in some forms of Rubus occidenialis. There is a
form with a fruit having soft pulp, of a light purplish red, and comparatively
few seeds. This is known amongst botanists, though I do not know that a
NATURAL SCIENCES OF PHILADELPHIA. 129
description has been published, as R. neglectus, Peck. This form is found in
isolated places in New York, Northern Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Iowa, and per-
haps elsewhere. As in the case of the form of R. villoma referred to, there
does not seem to be any connection between the localities, as a common cen-
tre spreading by roots would imply, while there is the same difficulties in the
way of spreading by seeds as in the other. How, then, does this form origi-
nate in these widely separated places.
Horticulture may help us to answer this question. It is well known that
fruits, after being grown for some time in one locality, will change their char-
acters to such an extent that a person acquainted with one will fail to recog-
nize it elsewhere, and all this without the intervention of any seminal power.
Thus, the nectarine is believed to be a bud evolution from a peach ; the Penn
apple is a similar creation from Baldwin, and the Reading from the common
Isabella grape. Though apparently originating in this way from external or
local causes, the characters peculiar in this change are retained when, by
grafts or cuttings, the plants are removed to other localities. It has also been
noted that the pears grown at Rochester, New York, have longer stems than
the same varieties grown further south ; but I do not know whether this pecu-
liarity, once originated, would follow the grafts or cuttings taken from them.
The curled-leaved willow, Salix babylonica annularis, was a branch from the
common weeping willow, which character it usually retains, though sometimes
a branch, resembling the common weeping, will push out from tbe tree. Of
like character is the well-known instance of purple-fiswered laburnums some-
times pushing out from the common yellow-flowered one. But perhaps the
best known instances are those of the common potato. It is not at all unfre-
quent to find some of quite another character and color in the same hill.
Those who contend for seed agency as the sole originator of varieties will
rather believe that there was some other variety of potato accidentally planted
with the other than that a new variety sprung from the bud alone. But the
evidence of origin from the same original potato-set has, in many instances,
been too direct to be doubted ; but, even here, rather than admit the doctrine
of development through buds, I have heard it assumed, by intelligent botanists,
that the flowers in such cases must have b'en impregnated with other pollen,
and, in some way, the descending sap brought about a sort of hybridism or
bud chaDge in these tubers. I have also heard excellent and leading botan-
ists (two of them authors of some of our leading works) suggest that many
of the varieties of Rubies in existence must be "hybrids." Of course, this is all
assumption, founded on extensive observation, no doubt ; but yet on probably
no better foundation than my own idea with which I set out in this paper —
that often, at least in the cases I have referred to, hybridization is highly im-
I have here, however, and exhibit with this paper, evidence of bud varia-
tion, in which there is no possibility of hybridism. A root of the common
sweet potato, Convolvulus batatas, in which some of the tubers are of the red
Bermuda, and the others of the white Brazilian variety.
The sweet potato never flowers in this part of the country, so that seminal
power could have had no influence whatever on the phenomenon. Even in
the south, and I believe elsewhere, where this plant is cultivated for its roots,
it rarely flowers, and I think there is little doubt but that the whole ten or
twelve varieties under culture have originated without seed, and in the way
we see them here.
The points I wish to make in this paper are : —
1st. That identical varieties sometimes appear in localities unfavorable to
the idea of a common centre of origin.
2d. Varieties have originated in which probably no hybridism or any seminal
3d. Varieties have certainly originated in the sweet potato by evolution,
130 PROCEEDINGS OF THE ACADEMY OP
without seminal agency, and that the same variety in this way has appeared
in widely-separated districts.
4th. As the discoveries of Darwin have shown in many cases, varieties to be
the parents of species, species may originate in widely-separated localities
by bud variation.
A Sketch of the Classification of the American ANSERINiE.
BY B. H. BANNISTER.
The following remarks are based upon an examination of the specimens of
American geese in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution.
The subfamily Anserinae by many recent authors is made to include the
genera Dendrocygna and Chenalopex, and doubtless correctly. In the present
paper, however, we shall not consider these genera, leaving them provision-
ally out of the subfamily ; if included, they would form at least one well
marked section, following those we are about to describe.
The distinguishing characters of the Anserime, as thus limited to the true
geese, are, the lengthened tarsus, covered with hexagonal or subquadrate
scales; the neck more elongated than in the ducks and less so than in the
swans; the short, high bill gradually narrowing toward the tip, which is
altogether composed of the large recurved nail ; together with the more or
less terrestrial habit of life, and the usually similar plumage of the two
The geese of the North American continent have been long known, and
being for the most part closely allied to, and in many cases identical with,
well known European forms, they fall readily into the systematic subdivisions
based upon the latter. In the temperate regions of South America, however,
the Anserince are of a rather aberrant type, and have been less completely
studied. They differ chiefly from the North American and European species
in possessing metallic tints on the plumage, and in having iu two of the
genera the coloration of the two sexes widely different. These differences
appear to be exclusively regional, none of the aberrant forms being found in
North America, and vice versa.
Another basis of division of the American Anserinae is found in the
presence, in two species — one North American and the other a Southern form
— of deep rough superorbital depressions and reversed relative proportions of
the tarsus and middle toe, together with an exclusively sea-coast habitat, and
a carnivorous diet, corresponding in some of these respects to the Oidemite
and Somateriae amongst the ducks.
These latter characters we have taken as the basis of the two sections into
which we divide the subfamily, as at present considered, since they correspond
with equivalent characters in one of the subdivisions of the Fuligulinae. The
presence of the deep superorbital depressions is a very general character
amongst the carnivorous natatores, though not universal.
The following is offered as an outline of the divisions and genera of the
subfamily, noting briefly the principal generic characters, the American spe-
cies and their geographical distribution. The principal characters of the
subfamily have been already given at sufficient length.
Section A. Anserem. Habits terrestrial ; tarsi longer than middle toe with
claw, skull without superorbital depressions.
a. Typical. Plumage without metallic reflections, color of sexes invariably
1. ANSER, Vieill.
Gen. Char. Bill as short as head or shorter, gaping at the sides, the lamel-